The effects of standard oral glucose loading (100 g) on plasma aldosterone and some regulatory factors were assessed in patients with primary hyperaldosteronism and normal subjects. Following overnight fast, mean plasma glucose was identical (10 patients and normal subjects approximately matched per age and sex); plasma insulin, potassium and renin levels were lower and plasma aldosterone higher in the patients. Glucose loading significantly increased plasma glucose and insulin concentrations and decreased plasma potassium and aldosterone levels in both groups; plasma renin activity was significantly increased only in normal subjects. The increases in plasma insulin and the decreases in plasma potassium or aldosterone tended to be blunted in primary hyperaldosteronism. Relationships among glucose-induced changes in plasma aldosterone and other factors were assessed by multiple regression analysis in these patients and normal subjects as well as an additional group of 21 normal subjects; in the latter, plasma cortisol was also measured and found to decrease significantly after glucose loading. Changes in plasma aldosterone correlated (P less than 0.025) more closely with those in plasma potassium in the patients and with variations in plasma renin activity in the normal subjects. These findings suggest that complex metabolic changes occur following glucose ingestion which are capable of modifying aldosterone secretion in normal subjects and primary hyperaldosteronism. The aldosterone-inhibitory effect of glucose tends to be blunted in the latter disorder. This could be related at least in part to an impaired insulin response in primary hyperaldosteronism.